Last night we had a tasty dish of fregola (Sardinian couscous) with Manila clams. The attached recipe is from BBC television cook Nigella Lawson. The link below to the BBC site also has a helpful video of the recipe.

Lawson calls for tomato puree, which is actually a concentrated tomato paste. I used an imported one from Italy that comes in a tube. After adding it to the pan, I let it toast slightly while stirring it before I added the broth and the vermouth. I think toasting the paste makes for a deeper tomato flavor.

For the small clams called for in the recipe, I used the Manila variety, which I find have a delicious briny sweetness to them. Note that the clams may take a minute or two more to open than the 3 minutes called for in the recipe. Shaking the covered pan may help the clams to open.


This is a quick and easy to prepare dish for a weeknight meal.  And if you don’t have fregola in the cupboard, it’s worth a trip to your Italian specialty store or an online search to find some. Here’s a link to the BBC Recipe.


I paired the dish with a 2013 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare, a Rhone-style blend rosé. A crisp dry rosé, with hints of strawberry on the nose and an earthy minerality, it was the perfect complement to the briny fregola.

Wine Pairing: Dry Rosé, Dry Riesling, Pinot Grigio


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